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The devil is in the details


Fri, Jan 31st, 2003
Posted in Features

Kane & Johnson Architects, Inc. of Rochester, brought back more revisions to the courthouse remodeling project after several meetings were held with the architects, Judge Robert Benson, Court Administrator James Attwood, Sheriff Jim Connolly, and Commissioners Duane Bakke and Chuck Amunrud. As Jason Woodhouse went over details, the emphasis centered on a dispute over windows and their security or lack there of. There is a need to provide privacy and protection to the offices and courtroom in the event that a case would bring out the worst in a defendant. This would include glazed windows that are much more resistant to physical blows and a bullet. Part of the dilemma is deciding how high up should the windowsill be. Do people want to see out onto the street? How much natural lighting is necessary? Where is the balance between security, human comfort, and esthetics? The current plans call for one inoperable window per office. Not being able to open a window means the heating and ventilation system must be working 100%. The offices can be individually thermostatically controlled. Windows raised higher up take away the human aspect but would be more secure, which is the way Commissioners Amunrud and Bakke would prefer it. Improving courthouse security has been an issue since the beginning of the projects sketches. The architect pointed out the employees want to be able to see out. When the question was put to Fillmore County Attorney Brett Corson, he said hed rather have an operable window as a safety net pending a wandering bullet in-house. There will be more discussion on windows later following additional research.Another sensitive issue revolves around the number of restrooms. Chairman Mark Prestby said hed pointed out three months ago that there are too many restrooms. Bakke also shared this opinion. There are private, gendered and unisexed restrooms. Its adding to the work of the maintenance department and the commissioners felt it was going over the line. David Kane said hed review codes regarding the required number and go from there.Other highlights discussed included a design to open up the Auditor/Treasurers Office to provide more access for the employees; reviewing current technology layout and signage designs; overview of corrections area; and possibly creating more space within the courthouse for Family Services, Victims Services and & Victims Liaisons rather than paying off- site rent. Asbestos abatement will also be completed during the remodeling process.

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